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Microsoft kicks off Windows 8 marketing blitz in NYC

Microsoft spared no expense in launching its latest Windows operating system in the heart of New York City

By Joab Jackson
October 25, 2012 01:30 PM ET

IDG News Service - Kicking off what may be the company's most challenging marketing effort yet, Microsoft has launched its next generation operating system, Windows 8, in New York City.

"Windows 8 shatters perceptions of what a PC really is," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer during the launch presentation, held at Pier 57, a giant warehouse jutting out into the Hudson River. The OS is radically from previous versions of Windows 8, Ballmer said, one that addresses a growing number of computational form factors, many of which Microsoft showed at the event.

Such new devices blur the line between tablets and PCs, and offer the best of both form factors. "Are these new designs PCs? Yes. Are they tablets also? Yes. We brought together the best of both worlds. People will pick and choose what is important to them. Everybody should be able to find their own perfect PC," Ballmer said.

Ballmer also stressed how much more dynamic Windows 8 would be over competing devices. Windows 8 machines would be "alive with activity," with live tiles updating personal information on the start screen, he said. "Picture your start screen filled with everything and everybody important to you. You will always know what is going on with the people in your life," Ballmer said.

Microsoft has always marketed new versions of its flagship Windows OS with plenty of aplomb. But it is particularly important for Microsoft that this version Windows is a success. Observers have noted that, unlike any version since Windows 95, this Windows 8 has less of a predetermined course of success. Press have hailed this launch as Microsoft's potential "last stand" and maybe even the end of Microsoft's dominance on the computer platform.

Much has changed in the three short years since the last major release of Microsoft's Windows franchise, Windows 7. The market for consumer computational devices has expanded, and moved away from using exclusively Windows. And Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live division, acknowledged this when announcing the official launch.

"This is a new era of Windows PCs," Sinofsky said. "Windows 8 is a major milestone in the evolution and revolution of computing."

Sinofsky noted that today's PC environment is radically different than the world in the early 1990s that Windows was first developed for. At the time there was no email, no Internet, no digital cameras. PCs were tethered to giant CRT screens, which had a lower resolution than smart phones do today. Fifteen years ago, working on a computer meant working on a desktop PC, or, perhaps a laptop for businesses. And both used Windows, except for a small amount of Apple Macintoshes. Windows dominated both form factors extensively. Since then, thanks to Moore's Law and other improvements in technology, computational power has been reduced to handheld proportions. And other operating systems, such as Apple's iOS and the Linux-based Android, have taken the lion's share of this giant and still emerging mobile market, forcing Microsoft to attempt to play catch-up.

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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